'Countdown' by BOTU Films

(Dunedin, NZ) Second Edit

Shot on a Canon 650D in Dunedin, New Zealand. We are like-minded amateurs with day jobs ranging from IT, customer service, retail, office administration and uni student. We did this for fun, and to challenge ourselves

Read 'Countdown' HERE

Second Cut Comments... have YOUR say!

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Comments: 1
  • #1

    Valerie (Thursday, 06 February 2014 20:40)


'Countdown' by BOTU Films

(Dunedin, NZ) First Edit

First cut: Producers notes for the filmmakers

  • Needs an atmos to sell the world outside / radios and walkies / police sires
  • Music too over dramatic – too large and does not marry with your images - try something more drone like and atmospheric
  • Try a more aggressive grungy grade, more contrast, desaturate, even add some hand held wobble in post.
Comments: 7 (Discussion closed)
  • #1

    Stephen Cooper (Tuesday, 06 November 2012 17:40)

    I enjoyed large portions of the film but found the tone a bit confusing at times. You start off with some great shots and really set the scene but then when the sound effects kick in on the bomb it feels like a comedy. Same happens a little later when he takes his jacket off. I think the script and the way you've shot it, along with the performances, work better as a drama and that if you get rid of the comedy element the whole film will play a lot better.

  • #2

    Phil (Wednesday, 07 November 2012 10:24)

    Visually, a very nice short film, some lovely shots and good scene dressing/props. I just feel that this piece had a lot more emotion that you could have attempted to tap in to, as Stephen says above me, it plays currently as a light-hearted, almost comedic piece. The shot at 1:47, "Becker Report", it seems almost as though the protagonist looks at the camera? The grade also contributes to this comedic feel.

    It seems as if too much time was spent on visuals and not enough on faithfully conveying the emotional depth this script allowed.

    That being said it is visually very beautiful and you should all be very proud of what you have accomplished.

  • #3

    Mark (Wednesday, 07 November 2012 12:33)

    Just shows how we all see things differently I thought the film was great! The music was well judged. But I do have a few minor quibbles that should be easy to fix.
    1) The guy on the radio was to assertive and dictatorial. He should have more compassion for the victims plight.
    2) The bit where she holds his head looks a little weak, maybe you could cut that or have another take that might look better or even reshoot a closeup where she tentaively puts out her hand and he grabs it and kisses it with a knowing smile. Would give him a more heroic feel.
    3) The bit where he changes his mind to rescue her and is stood still is a little to long.
    4) The grade is to light and needs to be darker.

    I think with those changes Job done.

  • #4

    chris m (Friday, 09 November 2012 21:20)

    This was always one of favorite scripts. If it’s not too late for feedback, I have two thoughts.

    First, on the opening pan, I think you’d be able to build up better tension with VO of the girl before we see her. “My friends said…. I thought he was nice.” Then a CUT to the dead guy on the ground, then the reveal of the girl with the bomb technician. Will have better surprise/tension than it does now, imho.

    Second, similar thoughts on the ending, building up the tension through the edit. Did you think about split screen? At least for a few seconds, while the girl holds up the bomb technician’s face to kiss him, we see a split screen of the timer winding down. I really think it will pucker folks up in their seats.

    Good luck!

  • #5

    Damian Mallon (Monday, 12 November 2012 07:08)

    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    Stephen; "...the way you've shot it, along with the performances, work better as a drama..." The intention certainly wasn't to be comedic and from your comment it appears that it is our foley which is haven't got right. We will be checking the foley levels on the project and adjusting them to be appropriate to the piece. We've also gone back to our composer regarding the music, so the next version may have a very different soundscape to it.

    Phil; "It seems as if too much time was spent on visuals and not enough on faithfully conveying the emotional depth this script allowed." Again, this certainly wasn't our intention. I would be interested in your opinion once we have changed the soundscape and grading.
    In regards to 1:47 we'll have a look at what other options we have.
    Thanks for the kudos, we're proud of the piece, but if the feedback here helps us produce a better result then the process is working.

    Mark; to address your points as you bring them up
    1) Interesting idea. We much went with the firmer, authoritative delivery as we felt this would contrast against Becker's decision to stay. I can see how your option would chance the emotion at that point but would it then make Becker's decision to stay weaker?
    2) The sense we got from the script at this point was that Becker realises he's in a bad situation and "s#!t gets real". In our reading of the script it really is Abigail who becomes the hero at that moment and brings him back. At the end of the day however, if that wasn't what you felt then we've failed to convey that. We will have a look at the footage and see what we have in the way of alternate takes or see how it plays with a re-edit.
    3) Thanks, we will look at the edit at that point.
    4) Also noted in the Producers Notes so we will be looking at this.
    I'm glad you like the music, hopefully you'll like the next one just as much

    Chris; you bring up a couple of valid points which were all discussed in post production.
    We didn't want Abigail to deliver her first line before she, and her relationship to the environment, had been established. She's a central piece of the movie but for a large portion of it she is not at the forefront of the action. We wanted to solidify her presence and thought a VO before she is revealed might be a weaker introduction to her character. The movie would benefit from another shot of the dead guy, but we were being ruthless with the edit, trying to keep the run time down. We will have a play around with the edit and see how other options play out.
    We did talk about split screen (for various points of the film) but didn't go for it. I can't remember the reason why now (I'm sure a good argument was put forward at the time). Again, this is something that we can have a look at and see if it works; we don't want it to take away from the kiss moment, but if it adds something it may make the final cut.

    Once again, thanks for your feedback.

  • #6

    Mark (Sunday, 18 November 2012 21:37)

    Hi Damion
    I think you did well in making a heroic action sequence with the Hero being the guy and the girl resigned to her fate. Instant likeability and understanding of familiar well trodden roles.
    I really like this film that's why I want to come back at you with a little more of how I feel. I hope you don't mind Ultimately its what a much wider audience think.
    The problem I have with the authoritive voice is yes it would work if it was sci fi or the bad guys. Maybe even horror where we expect things not to be the normal world but this is modern day and the time of send em over the top or shot by the firing squad are long gone and would imagine that those in charge of operations would be keen to save life and failure would be spoken in that context. Even SAS soldiers would go back for their buddies even the bodies.
    Re Her strength and his weakness If it is written in the script that way it dosen't mean you have to shoot it the same? Personally I'd build on making the hero heroic any weakness makes him less likeable for me.
    Ultimately its my opinion and you know best!

  • #7

    Damian Mallon (Tuesday, 20 November 2012)

    Hi Mark,
    We certainly don't mind your feedback at all. This part of the process is, in your own words, "what a much wider audience think".
    We're in the process of making changes to both our entries at the moment.
    Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to watch and provide feedback.